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Sustainable Community-based Urban Farming (MKRPL)

 

Model Kawasan Rumah Pangan Lestari (MKRPL)

A MODEL OF SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY-BASED URBAN FARMING

Along with population growth and the conversion of agricultural land that will never can be stopped, the efforts to keep striving for food self-sufficiency must still be carried out, evaluated, and repaired. Food self-sufficiency which is characterized by the availability of safe, healthy and nutritious foods in sufficient quantities at all times need to be reached through creative efforts.

An awareness of the need for creative cooperation between the government and the community (citizens) to achieve food self-sufficiency has led the Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Indonesia through the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD). In collaboration with the communities at several regions (provinces) in Indonesia, IAARD has initiated a model of utilization of the front and or back yard and other narrow areas, especially in urban area, as a place of food production. The model is known as a model of sustainable community-based urban farming or in bahasa Indonesia it is known as Model Kawasan Rumah Pangan Lestari (MKRPL).

Concept of MKRPL

MKRPL was inspired from one of the valuable Indonesian's cultures-“Home of Foods (HFs)”- which utilize the front and or back yard as a source of family foods by planting a variety of vegetables, fruits, tubers and medicinal plants as well as raising livestock. In order to provide a wider impact in the context of food self-sufficiency, the concept of “Home of Foods (HFs)” is then creatively and critically developed into a model concept of a sustainable community-based urban farming or in bahasa it is called as Model Kawasan Rumah Pangan Lestari (MKRPL).

The word "community-based" is intended to show that the purpose of the MKRPL is not like HFs which only involves a household individually only, but it is expected to involve many interrelated households in certain region as a community of neighborhood. IAARD's position in this program is just as an inisiator who gives advocation and held some supporting programs so that the residents in certain area have the willingness to participate and build their own sustainable region of foods. So that, this MKRPL should be planned and implemented in a participatory manner (from the people, by the people and for the people), and then evaluated and repaired creatively and critically by the community.

Moreover, when there is active participation from the community since the beginning of the planning, implementation, evaluation and improvement, the program will run properly and continuously. Then, when the program run continuously so the cultivation of foods will also be continuosly carried out. So, it is expected that the concept of region of foods will ensure that foods supply will be provided continuously. Moreover, "sustainable" in this concepts also can be reached only whenever there is active participation from the community.

In addition, to support and ensure the sustainability, the provision and availability of seeds / seedlings become one of the important factors that must be maintained. So, in the MKRPL concept, the nurseries which provide seeds/seedlings become one of the principles thing that must exist. The availabality of nurseries is one of the principles that distinguish the concept of “MKRPL” to “House of Foods (HFs).” It only need one nursery in one region. The nursery will provide seeds/seedling for all participants in a community. Besides that, a nursery will also provide growing media, organic fertilizers, and organic pesticides.

In other words, MKRPL is focused on achieving two main objectives, they are 1) the provision of nutritious foods, and 2) the provision of foods must be a sustainable provision. The "nutritious foods provision" will be achieved through the provision of physical aspects, such as crops/livestocks that is supported by the provision of growing media, fertilizers/feeds, water and seeds/seedlings as well as adequate facilities and other infrastructures. The "sustainable provision" will be achieved through 1) an engagement of community active participation since the beginning of the planning, implementation, evaluation and improvement, as well as 2) the development and management of a nursery which can ensure the sustainability of seed/seedlings supply..

In practice, there are 5 basic principles of MKRPL: (1) utilization of the yard must environmentally friendly and should be designed for food security and food self-sufficiency, (2) food diversification based on local resources, (3) conservation of genetic resources of local foods (crops, livestock , fish), and (4) maintaining “the sustainability” through the nursery/ nurseries, and (5) an increase in income and welfare of the community. In other words, the purpose of the MKRPL are: (1) Provide nutritious foods of families and communities through sustainable utilization of the yard/narrow areas, (2) Improve the ability of families and communities in the utilization of the yard in rural or urban area through cultivation of food crops, fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants (spices), and raising livestock or fish, (3) Develop nurseries for seeds cultivation in order to sustain and preserves local food crops, (4). Develop economically productive activities to improve the welfare of families and communities and also creating a clean healthy green environment.